AFV News from around the Web

Another installment of AFV articles from various news sources. Click on the headline to go to the full article.

 

The Motley Fool – After the M1A2 Abrams, the Army Wants a New Tank for 2030

m1a1-abrams-is-usmc_largeThe U.S. Army boasts a motorpool stacked to the rafters with 6,000 M1 Abrams main battle tanks — more tanks than some countries have soldiers. Yet for some crazy reason, Congress keeps buying more.  Actually, the reason isn’t totally crazy. The U.S. only has one factory left that’s totally dedicated to the production of main battle tanks — General Dynamics’ (NYSE:GD) factory in Lima, Ohio. Sporadic demand from tank-buyers, however, keeps this factory always on the edge of having to shut down operations — at which point the U.S. wouldn’t be able to build tanks if it suddenly needed to. (A shutdown would also cost jobs in an important Congressional district.)

 

Washington Examiner – General: US no longer has a ‘world class’ tank

730x420-de444e0b953d5893ad17913d4697f7f3U.S. tanks are now roughly on par with Russian tanks, according to a top general, and the American military doesn’t have the technology to recover its former advantage.  “I would not say that we have the world class tank that we had for many, many years,” Lieutenant General John Murray said during a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing on modernizing the Army. “I’ll be the optimist and say that we’re at parity with a lot of different nations.”

 

Newsweek – Moscow Man Convicted of Trying to Smuggle Soviet Tank into Kazakhstan

img_4658Russian authorities have slapped a three-year suspended sentence on a Moscow man for trying to smuggle a World War II-era tank into neighboring Kazakhstan, state news agency Itar-Tass reports.  The man—whose name federal authorities did not divulge—obtained a Soviet Т-34-85 circa from 1945, from a Latvian citizen at the bargain price of €20,000, but planned to sell it off to a buyer in Kazakhstan for more than 10 times that amount.

 

War is Boring – The Biggest Tank Battle in History Wasn’t at Kursk

1-y_jiSY5sV_KwWGG8catgLAA thousand coffee table books and countless hours of popular history programs have described the Battle of Prokhorovka, part of the Third Reich’s 1943 Operation Citadel, as the largest tank battle in history. Near the city of Kursk on the Eastern Front, hundreds of Soviet tanks slammed into the 2nd SS Panzer Corps in an enormous conflagration of flesh and metal.  Prokhorovka was certainly an important clash and one of the largest tank battles ever, but it might be time to retire its description as the biggest — a claim which has been seriously questioned in recent years by historians with access to Soviet archives opened since the end of the Cold War.

 

Warrior – Why Allies’ Secret DD Tank Failed on D-Day

DD-TankIf you’ve seen the blockbuster movies The Longest Day (currently on Netflix) or Saving Private Ryan, a big part of the story is how infantry fought through the obstacles on Omaha Beach (the wisdom of sending two divisions into that meat-grinder can be debated at another time).  But the lack of tank support wasn’t part of the plan. In fact, it was one hell of an instance where that notorious and unwelcome Murphy’s Law put in an appearance, costing the infantry some much-needed support. It would have been their secret weapon: the Dual-Drive, or DD, tank.

 

The National Interest – The PT-76: The Russian Tank That Can ‘Swim’

verkhnyaya_pyshma_tank_museum_2012_0181The PT-76 seems like a minor oddity of the Cold War — a Soviet amphibious light tank with thin armor and an unimpressive gun. Certainly it seemed bound for rough treatment on modern battlefields full of heavy weapons and heavier tanks. But the floating PT-76 chalked up a remarkable record, carrying knife-wielding Himalayan soldiers into battle, sinking gunboats on the Ganges Delta, dueling powerful U.S. Patton tanks in Vietnam, and launching amphibious surprise attacks on both sides of the same Middle Eastern war. The first article in this two-part series will look at the origin and characteristics of the PT-76, the nasty shock it gave U.S. forces in Vietnam, and the historic countermeasure used against it.

Iran introduces new Karrar MBT

p1692951Iran has revealed to the public their new “Karrar” main battle tank.  As can be expected, Iranian government sources have described the new vehicle in rather glowing terms, while releasing few details.  According to Defense Blog.com, the Karrar appears to be an upgraded T-72S, modified with a new turret and improved armor and electronics.  According to the Iranian Mehr News Agency, the new Karrar tank is “100 percent Iranian made” and is “superior to the Russian-made T-90MS in certain aspects.”  Iran had been exploring the option of purchasing T-90 tanks from Russia, but says that their ability to produce the Karrar makes purchasing tanks from foreign countries unnecessary.  As might be expected, Russian news source Sputnik International was quite to jump on the Iranian comparison to the T-90, declaring that “Iran’s newest tank is no match to Russia’s T-90”  Meanwhile, Western media sources have chimed in, including articles in the National Interest and Popular Mechanics.

Probably the best description currently available online is from the blog Under the Turret Ring in their March 12 post Production version of the Karrar MBT unveiled (updated).  As usual, this blog provides a rather sober and well-informed analysis of the topic.  Also worth checking out is the thread on the Karrar over at Sturgeon’s House forum.

News articles on the Karrar (listed by country):

Iran – Mehr News Agency: Iran unveils highly-advanced Karrar Tank

Iran – PressTV: Iran unveils world-class indigenous tank

Russia – Sputnik International: Despite Striking Resemblance Iran’s Newest Tank is no Match to Russia’s T-90

Russia – RT News: Iran announces mass production of domestic main battle tank, which looks like Russian T-90MS

USA – The National Interest: Iran’s ‘New’ Karrar Tank: “One of the Most Advanced Tanks in the World”?

USA – Popular Mechanics: Iran’s New Tank Is a Whole Lot of Meh

USA – Froxtrot Alpha: Iran’s New Tank Makes Lofty Claims It Hasn’t Backed Up

Pakistan – Quwa: Iran Showcases New Karrar Main Battle Tank

Below the Turret Ring: Leopard 2 Projects

The blog Below the Turret Ring has written a new post taking a look at some of the latest upgrade projects for the Leopard 2 MBT.

Below the Turret Ring: Leopard 2 projects

In April 2015 the German Army announced it’s plans to increase the operational Leopard 2 fleet by 103 tanks. Since then not a lot has happened, as revealed in official documents and in newspaper articles from the Februrary of 2017. At least some of the tanks are currently owned by the German defence industry, so the government has to buy them back – but no contract has been signed within nearly two years of planning. The Leopard 2A4 main battle tank (MBT) is an improved version from the mid/late 1980s of the original Leopard 2 tank. By modern standards it has outdated armor, a short gun with inferior armor penetration and range, while lacking of modern electronics, optronics and relying on the more dangerous hydraulic systems instead of using electric drives.

leostorage

Leopard 2 tanks in long-term storage

Original reports from last year expected 84 of the new tanks to be upgraded to the Leopard 2A7 or the improved Leopard 2A7V configuration. The costs for buying and upgrading the tanks are expected to be about 760 million Euros, the contract might be signed before summer of 2017; if not the whole program might be delayed by another year due to the German elections in September 2017. The reason for the current delays is a disagreement between the two companies Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall. Current workshare plans see about a third of the work (and the money) going to Rheinmetall, but the company demands more. Rheinmetall acquired the military division of Maschiennebau Kiel (MaK) in 1990, which was responsible for manufacturing 45% of all German Leopard 2 tanks. Rheinmetall is also a major subcontractor for the main armament, delivering the L/55 smoothbore gun for the tank.

Click here to go to the full blog post

AFV News from around the Web

Some articles and videos concerning AFVs from the past week.  Click on the headline to go to the full piece.

  

U.S. Department of Defense – Army Unit Bolsters Abrams Tanks With ‘Reactive’ Armor

170228-A-ZZ999-777GRAFENWOEHR TRAINING AREA, Germany, March 7, 2017 — Tank and maintenance crews from the 1st Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment assigned here are giving their M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks a buffed-up look that improves the tanks’ overall defensive capabilities.  The crews, with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, which is serving as the initial ABCT rotational force in support of Atlantic Resolve, began installing the Abrams Reactive Armor Tile system Feb. 28 to tank hulls and turrets.
  

Financial Review – (Australian) Army’s plans for more and better tanks

1488852550924As the Defence Department gears into “new and enhanced capability”, spending around $195 billion over the next 10 years, most people are aware of the large-scale builds: the Air Warfare Destroyers, the 12 future submarines, the future frigates and Australia’s step into the aviation future with 72 F-35 stealth fighters.  Less well known is the resurgence of a defence technology which has not made many headlines for the past 45 years: the main battle tank.
  
 

IHS Jane’s 360 – More details of Russia’s Bumerang emerge

1634514_-_mainRussia has released additional details of its latest Bumerang (Boomerang) family of wheeled 8×8 armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) that are the long-term replacement for the currently deployed BTR-80 8×8 amphibious armoured personnel carrier (APC).  The Bumerang chassis has the designation VPK-7829, with the infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) variant designated the K-17 and the APC model is designated the K-16 (while under development the vehicle was referred to as the Gilza, which is Russian for ‘cartridge’).
  
 

Haaretz – Israel’s First Would-be Female Tank Troops Start Their Arduous Training

1008288172Israel’s first women seeking to become tank-crew members started the process this week as Israel strives to join countries like Norway, Canada and Australia on the short list of states with women in tanks.  At the end of their basic training in mixed-gender battalions, 15 of the women will be selected for a pilot program to see if they are fit to serve in tanks. Selection will be based in large part on motivation and physical fitness.  In light of certain rabbis’ and reserve officers’ wariness about women serving in the military and/or the Armored Corps, the army’s pushing of the process seems to be sending a message in support of women in combat.
  
 

IHS Jane’s 360 – Lazar III enters service

p1682693_-_mainYugoimport’s Lazar 3 8×8 MultiRole Armoured Combat Vehicle has entered service with Serbia in the armoured personnel carrier (APC) configuration.  The vehicle has a welded steel chassis to which its monocoque steel hull – which features spall liners – is bolted. In its baseline form the vehicle has all round ballistic protection to Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 4569 Level 3, and over the frontal arc this is increased to Level 3+. Mine protection is to STANAG 4569 Level 3a and 3b, and the floor has two levels of protection.
  
 

  

 

Video: T-80 Drift

This video appeared on youtube a few days ago.  We are going to guess that this is not a driving technique found in the manual.

Photo of the Day: Sherman farm tractor

It’s been a while since we posted a photo of the day.  We bring this feature back today with this rather amusing photo taken in the late 1940’s in Chelyabinsk oblast.

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Source.

Book Alert: Rolls-Royce Armoured Car: 1915-44 (Haynes)

Haynes has released another of their “Owners’ Workshop Manual” titles focused on armored vehicles.  This latest one examines the Rolls-Royce Armoured Car: 1915-44 and is authored by well known British AFV expert David Fletcher.  This is a 160 page hardcover book.  As with others of this series, it features plenty of photos, charts and diagrams.

Publisher’s Description:

The Rolls-Royce Armoured Car is almost a legend: introduced by the Royal Naval Air Service the First World War for shore patrols, modified versions were still in service during the Second World War in 1940–41 with the British Army’s 11th Hussars in the North African desert. Between the wars they were used for policing duties by the Royal Air Force in Iraq, Egypt and India. Centrepiece of this manual is the Irish Army’s 1920 Rolls-Royce Armoured car ‘Sliabh na mBan’, restored jointly by the Irish Defence Forces and specialist historic Rolls-Royce restorer James Black Restorations between 2012 and 2015.

Author: David Fletcher MBE is the former Librarian at the Tank Museum and a respected world authority on armoured fighting vehicles. He is also a prolific author, including the Haynes Great War Tank Manual (2013) and co-author of the Haynes Tiger Tank Manual (2011). He lives in Dorset.